Tales and Ale: A Holiday Blurb

This post is dedicated to all the wonderful writers of the Keep. Years after we parted, you continue to inspire me. I rewrote this blurb as an original story called ‘Every Thom, Dick, and Harry Has a Story’, changing it, so it was no longer Keepiture. However, the original story was Keep fan fiction, written in loving memory of the universe we all contributed to. Here is the Keep’s own version of St. Patrick’s Day, along with some of the myths, which surround it. Naturally, it’s all Davyn’s fault. 🙂

For those unfamiliar with Keep lore, Davyn is a former Darkling Enchanter, famous for alcoholic beverages, which could topple the most stalwart drinkers. Darkling creme is one of them.

There’s also a reference to ‘Branigan’s Special Ale’, which is the subject of a song Heather Alexander sings. It’s one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day songs, which I’ll have to listen to at some point today. The song is on her ‘Midsummer’ album, a must for anyone who likes Celtic filk with a fae bend. The Keep has its own version of Branigan’s special ale, it seems. 🙂
“Drink up, me lad!” The speaker’s hair was fire red. He had bright green eyes with a merry twinkle in them, as he gestured to the beer taps behind the bar.

Rhodry, on the other side of the bar, looked from the barkeep to the taps. He couldn’t see Maggie. She had to be in the kitchen. There was a group of Singing Unicorns sitting at the other end of the bar. Half empty glasses of beer were in front of them, as well as half devoured plates of corned beef and cabbage. All of them were talking merrily.

Rhodry wasn’t sure he felt like a beer, let alone a plate of heavy food. He looked around the tavern for someone he knew. Amberwyne and Alexi were sitting at a table together. Amberwyne had a glass of amber liquid in a pint the same color of her hair. She’d finished half of it. She was also eating a huge plate of corned beef and cabbage.

Alexi, on the other hand, had a very small plate of salad in front of her, which she poked grudgingly with a fork. A small glass of white wine was in front of her.

“Don’t go ordering that wine, or the salad, as yon foolish lass,” the red-haired barkeep warned. “She’s missing out, not trying the ale.” He placed a small hand on his chest in an almost solemn fashion. “This is special ale, the very ale liberated by Padraig from the Golden Serpent, on this very day.”

“I’ve never heard that tale,” Rhodry said, pausing in spite of himself, at the promise of a new story. He heard legends of Padraig, how he’d battled the Golden Serpent, driving both her and her people from the Green Isle. The Green Isle had become staunchly clerical, afterwards, worshipping the Unicorn with an almost fearful passion. The Golden Serpent was often a metaphor for House Mavelyne in the old tales. “I’ve heard that Padraig fought the Golden Serpent, though sometimes the enemy is a dragon.” Which was one of the reasons Vic and many other people Rhodry knew didn’t celebrate St. Padraig’s Day. “I’ve never heard about any ale, though.”

“Ah, but the ale is very important!” the barkeep said. He leaned a little closer, as if he was going to tell Rhodry a secret. “Dragons have battled for this ale, but that’s another tale.” Pausing for dramatic emphasis, the redhead turned to pick up a pint glass. He filled it at one of the taps, before turning with the full glass back to Rhodry. “Maggie learned the art of brewing this special brew from her foremothers, going back to Brangwen herself.” He placed the glass on the bar. The liquid inside was red golden. “The Golden Serpent wanted the ale. She and her servants stole it from Brangwen, but bonny Padraig marched right into the Golden Serpent’s lair. He challenged both her and her minions to a drinking contest, succeeded in drinking them all right under the table. He marched out with stolen ale kegs, returning them to Brangwen.”

Brangwen, that name sounded familiar, no, it couldn’t be. “You don’t mean Branigan, do you?” Rhodry asked, his eyes widening. The legend of Branigan’s ale was notorious. Only darkling creme was more infamous.

“Ah, poor Brangwen, no one gives her credit. Everyone thinks Branigan brewed the brew.” The barkeep reached up to tug his forelock. It was an almost reverent gesture. “All Branigan ever does is pour the drinks and tell tales.” He winked, in an almost mischievous fashion.

Rhodry stared at the youth, who was shorter than most humans. He didn’t look much older than Davyn, but Davyn was much older than he looked. Centuries older.
“Are you saying that you’re actually him?” Rhodry asked in a hushed whisper. He couldn’t actually bring himself to say the name Branigan.

“Oh, I’m not saying anything, lad. We old barkeeps are as mum as Unicorn clerics in a cloister, save for those that sing.” The barkeep gave the Singing Unicorns at the other end of the bar a meaningful nod. “All we do is tell tales.”

“Well, your tale has convinced me,” Rhodry said with a grin. He reached for the pint. “I’ll try it.”

In the meantime, Davynrel con Tylal was having a little drinking celebration of his own. “Bottoms up!” the sidhe told the lovely, golden haired woman with him, before he downed his entire glass. He’d managed to get his own private room and his own private tap in the back of Maggie’s. He set down his glass and winked at his companion. “After all, today is the anniversary, centuries later, of the day I first drank you under the table.”

“As if I could ever forget, ‘Padraig’. Bottoms are always up for you,” Mavelyne, founder of House Mavelyne and the golden serpent said. She took a drink from her glass, before setting it down beside Davyn’s. There was a twinkle in her golden blue eye. “That was the first and last time I ever saw you as a redhead.”

“Ah, well, I was inspired by your lovely cousin before I ever met her,” Davyn said with a sigh. He shook his head, which for a moment, sported strawberry blonde locks. “My hair color didn’t turn out anything like hers.” A moment later, his hair went back to being its usual silvery gold. “It didn’t really suit me, fabulous as it looks on some of my relatives.”

“It caught my attention,” Mavelyne said. Her lips twitched in amusement. “How disappointed bards would be if they realized Padraig never battled the Golden Serpent and her minions, let alone drove her off the Green Isle, or rescued Branigan’s special ale from her! All he did was drink her under the table and seduce her!”

“Well, it’s a special memory for me,” Davyn said, lowering his eyelashes. He actually looked boyishly shy. “It was also the day I convinced you to return to the Harper realm with me.”

“Not to mention the day our daughter was conceived.” Mavelyne’s voice was husky. She looked back at Davyn. For a moment, the two former lovers stared at each other. A hundred intimate memories and regrets lay between them. Remembered. Unspoken.

It was far too serious a moment for Davynrel con Tylal. “It was also where I got the inspiration for darkling creme.” His smile turned wicked. “Admittedly, it’s a little stronger than this stuff.”

“Yes, just a little.” The sarcasm in Mavelyne’s voice could have sliced bread. Very thick bread with a substantial crust. “And no, for the hundredth time, I’m not trying it.”

Davyn shook his head and smirked. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

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